Matijevic’s 9th-inning single lifts Astros over Yankees 3-2
(AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)
By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) Rookie J.J. Matijevic's pinch-hit RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning lifted the Houston Astros to a 3-2 win over the New York Yankees on Thursday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader between the American League's top teams.
Alex Bregman led off the Houston ninth with a single against Michael King (6-3). Bregman advanced to third on Aledmys Diaz's double. After Yuli Gurriel struck out, pinch-hitter Yordan Alvarez was walked intentionally to load the bases.
King looked as if he might be able to escape the jam after he struck out Chas McCormick, but Matijevic drove in Bregman with an infield single to shortstop.
"The bullpen did a great job and boy, that was an exciting win for us and the fans and for J.J.," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "I was happy for J.J."
Baker was impressed by the work of Matijevic and fellow rookie Korey Lee, who drove in a run in the second.
"These rookies aren't afraid," Baker said. "They can grow up right before your eyes in that situation. ... They're understanding what this rivalry is all about and the magnitude of the ballgames."
The doubleheader between the major league-leading Yankees and the Astros is to help make up a series that was postponed because of the lockout. Houston won the first game of the series on June 30.
"It's definitely news to watch us play each other," New York's Giancarlo Stanton said. "But at the end of the day, we've got to stay ahead of them for home-field (advantage) and every game is important. But there's obviously a bit more spice on these games."
Baker echoed the sentiments of Stanton as it relates to his team.
"It's just July, but it's mid-July and these things count," Baker said. "We're trying to chase a team."
The Astros carried a 2-1 lead into the ninth. But Aaron Hicks singled against Hector Neris (3-3) and scored on Isiah Kiner-Falefa's two-out single, a grounder that rolled just past shortstop Jeremy Pena for the tying hit.
DJ LeMahieu homered in the fifth, but the Yankees were just 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
Houston jumped in front by scoring in each of the first two innings against Jordan Montgomery.
Jose Altuve and Pena opened Houston's first with back-to-back bunt singles. Bregman drove in Altuve with a one-out single to center.
Mauricio Dubon walked and scored on Lee's double in the second.
The Yankees loaded the bases with no outs in the third, but Cristian Javier escaped the jam with some help from his defense. Matt Carpenter lined to Gurriel at first, and he completed a double play by beating Aaron Judge back to first. Gleyber Torres then flied out, ending the inning.
"They hit the ball hard like and couldn't get through there," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "And then their bullpen was pretty tough against us today, too."
Montgomery tied a season high with eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. He allowed seven hits and walked one.
Javier tied a season high by issuing four walks while allowing one run and two hits in five innings. It was Javier's first start against the Yankees since he pitched seven innings in a combined no-hitter at New York on June 25. Neris and Ryan Pressly finished the historic gem.
It was just the third doubleheader for the domed Minute Maid Park, which opened in 2000.
Astros: Alvarez was reinstated from the 10-day injured list before Thursday's games. OF Jose Siri was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land. ... Pressly was not with the team after going on the paternity list following the birth of a daughter Wednesday. LHP Parker Mushinski was reinstated from the 15-day IL.
New York's Domingo German will make his season debut after sitting out with a shoulder injury in Game 2 of the doubleheader against Luis Garcia (7-3, 3.65 ERA).
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Updated July 21, 2022